James Safewright, president of Cremation Options Inc., confirmed that Denton had died Wednesday morning at his Knoxville home. Safewright had met with a Denton family member Wednesday, and the University of Tennessee’s athletic department also issued a release announcing Denton’s death.
Denton had worked as the PA announcer for Tennessee football since 1967. School officials said he had the longest tenure of any college football public address announcer in the nation.
“Bobby Denton’s voice echoing throughout our iconic stadium will be forever etched in our fans’ minds,” Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said in a university release that included testimonials from numerous former Volunteer players and coaches. “For decades, he was a key component of the tradition within Neyland Stadium. He will be greatly missed by all.”
Denton was perhaps best known for saying, “It’s football time in Tennessee!” as every Volunteers home game kicked off. He also said each game that concession prices were included in the program and reminded fans to “pay these prices and please pay no more.”
“Bobby’s been a friend of mine for a long, long time, and I was really saddened to hear that,” Gov. Bill Haslam said to a group of reporters in Murfreesboro about news of Denton’s death. “Obviously to a lot of Tennessee football fans, Denton was the voice of games for 50 years, and he was a prominent personality in Knoxville as well, so really sad to hear about Bobby.”
Denton also worked as the general manager of Knoxville radio station WIVK before retiring from that business. He was an announcer at Talladega Superspeedway for over 15 years.
“Bobby Denton is a true treasure of Tennessee football,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said in a university release. “Hearing him say, ‘It’s football time in Tennessee’ is one of the greatest traditions in the history of college football. His voice is as synonymous with Neyland Stadium as the checkerboard end zones, and everyone in the Tennessee family will miss him greatly.”